Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Lp's Minnie, It's Been Long Trip

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Lp's Minnie, It's Been Long Trip

Article excerpt

It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Most coaches will use this mantra when talking about an individual game, but in the case of Lincoln Park's Elijah Minnie, it goes much deeper than that.

Minnie's high school career came full circle last Saturday when he led the Leopards to the biggest margin of victory in WPIAL Class A title game history, 85-41, against Monessen.

"It was a great night," Lincoln Park athletic director and assistant basketball coach Mike Bariski said. "What a crowd. I don't think you could have fit one more person in there.

"Last year was so disappointing for everybody involved. Young kids take a lot of things for granted. No one is going to give you anything. Everybody gives us their best. It has been that way for the last six, seven years. We get their best shot."

For Minnie, who had 24 points, 16 rebounds and 11 blocks in the game, it was his first WPIAL championship.

"It is a great feeling," Minnie said. "It is what everyone wants to do their senior year and I was lucky enough to have a great team and coaching staff to do it."

But to understand Minnie's full story you have to start from the beginning. Four years ago Minnie began his high school career at Monessen. He failed almost every class he took and his mom and stepdad knew they needed a change.

Enter Summit Academy.

"I matured a little bit more there," Minnie said. "When I was there, they told me I was my own person and to make the right choices. When I left Summit, I looked back at all the bad and good things I did at Monessen and the bad outweighed the good. It turned out to be a great choice for me to make."

As Minnie continued on the right path, his mom decided to increase her son's odds of doing well. She started looking up and contacting charter schools around the area. She came across Lincoln Park and after their visit, Minnie fell in love.

"He heard about us from someone at Summit and had his mom give us a phone call about how he can get in to Lincoln Park," Bariski said. …

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